The UN consistently rates Canada as the best place to live, work and study. It is the world’s second biggest country, combining cosmopolitan cities with vast expanses of unspoilt natural beauty that offer unlimited recreational activities – from world-class culture to wilderness treks, within the space of a day.
Real estate in Canada is inexpensive and the cost of living is low. Canadians enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world with a public and privately funded healthcare system that ensures all residents have access to excellent medical care.
Canada is one of the world's wealthiest nations with an average GDP of CAN$45,085, ranking it 18th in the world. The Quality of Living Survey 2009 from Mercer Human Resource Consulting placed Vancouver 4th in the Top 5 cities in the world for quality of living. Of the top 5 ranked cities in the Americas, all were Canadian - Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary.
Canadians love the great outdoors and during the summer many families leave the cities to go kayaking, hiking, camping, hunting and cycling. Every province has “wilderness walks” and the Trans Canada Trail is the longest recreational trail in the world. In winter, sports like downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, skating, ice hockey, snowboarding and curling are popular.
Multicultural heritage is enshrined in Section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Multiculturalism is the norm and diversity unite the community. Canada is a geographically vast and ethnically diverse country. English and French are the official languages with Chinese, Italian, German, Punjabi and Spanish also spoken. Canada's cultural diversity creates a friendly environment that readily accepts people from other nationalities, so you will be made to feel at home as soon as you arrive.
East Canada vs West Canada
Having lived and worked in both East and West Canada there are definitely some differences between the two. I’ve listed some of these below, and hope they help as you decide which part of Canada will be best suited for you and your family.
Eastern Canada – Specifically Toronto is a diverse and welcoming city, with quick direct flights to Europe (7 hours to the UK) and has great transport links to the rest of the world. You can take the scenic drive to either New York, Washington or Chicago in between 8 to 9 hrs or an approx. 1.5 hrs flight. Toronto is a very multicultural city which has lots to offer, whatever your interest.
Toronto along with the majority of Ontario’s cities are located near the Great Lakes this has a major influence on its climate, and ensures that it is both warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than it might otherwise be. That's not to say that Toronto's winters aren't still cold. Overnight temperatures throughout the winter can average -3C to -6C, although you generally, don’t get too much snow in Toronto. Occasionally it will be a lot worse than those average figures show, and warm winter clothing is essential. During the summer months the average temperatures in June, July and August are a pleasant 25°C or so, although the thermometer can creep above 40°C, and Toronto even becomes a bit humid, which is a surprise for many visitors who are expecting a cooler city.
Each province is slightly different, i.e. Alberta requires every Physician to be fully licensed in Canada at this time, British Columbia requires Physicians to have 7 rotations during PG training, whereas Ontario doesn’t require either, instead the clinics will arrange supervision/mentor so you have a point of contact to guide and assist you where necessary, as you get used to the Canadian healthcare system.
The level of supervision is always the lower of the three available tiers, and will be discussed and agreed between yourself and the supervisor. For example in the first month you might meet bi-weekly and then monthly or even quarterly thereafter, as you can imagine the Canadian systems, methods, and processes for prescriptions and referrals etc.. may be slightly different so this provides you with the necessary support and guidance as well as ensuring that you settle into to the clinic as soon as possible. The supervision won’t affect your pay, hours or restrict you within the clinic; it’s designed to ensure that you have all the support you require, are meeting the expected standard of care and that the patient safety is not compromised.
Western Canada – Is a slightly longer flight to Europe (9 hours to the UK) and 15 hours to Australia the time difference is a little further behind (-8 GMT in British Columbia).
The weather in the Okanagan Valley (British Columbia) is considered to be the best in Canada, fantastically hot summers between 30C to 40C degrees throughout (and no humidity) and the winters although snowy are a lot easier to manage than Eastern Canada as the temperature is a lot warmer and there is no wind chill. The scenery is also absolutely breathe taking and there are endless places to visit.
For activities although there is lots to do in places like Ontario for the outdoor or adventurous person you can’t pick a better place than British Columbia. The list is endless and includes skiing, snowboarding, boating, climbing, hunting, fishing, biking, horse riding, snowmobiles, wineries, hiking, etc…
Health Care System
The Canadian health care system, known as Medicare, is designed to ensure that all residents have access to medically necessary hospital and physician services mostly free at the point of delivery. More than 10% of GDP is spent on health care in Canada - more than most OECD countries.
Canada's public and privately funded health care system is best described as an interlocking set of ten provincial and three territorial health insurance plans. Roles and responsibilities for Canada's health care system are shared between the federal and provincial-territorial governments. The federal government provides funding through cash and tax transfers to the provinces and territories to help pay for health care services. The provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the management, organization and delivery of health services for their residents.
Health care services include insured primary health care (such as the services of family physicians and other health professionals) and hospitals, which account for the majority of provincial and territorial health expenditures.
For more information please check the following websites:
Canada has both federal income tax and provincial/territorial income tax. Both are separately calculated on the same tax return, except for Québec. Federally, there are 4 tax brackets. Each province has multiple tax brackets, except Alberta, which has only one tax rate for all taxable income.
Full details are available from the Canada Revenue Agency website:
Canada spends around 8 per cent of its gross domestic product on education and has some of the best schools and colleges in the world. Full-time education is compulsory in all provinces from the ages of five, six or seven and continues until age 16 -18. Education in public primary and secondary schools is free but parents pay top-up ‘student fees’ of between CAN$5 and CAN$100 per term for extra-curricular classes. Admission to public school for foreign children is dependent on the type and duration of the visa granted to their parents.
For more information please check the following websites: